Mark Jewell is an expert and renowned instructor on energy efficiency, and I have had the privilege of attending one of his “Boot Camp” classes this week. Believe me, Boot Camp is an appropriate term for this 6 day, 48 hour class that is jam-packed with incredible information.
There are a variety of ways to make a building more energy efficient. You can upgrade light bulbs, add lighting controls, implement a building automation system, add CO2 sensors, add variable frequency drives, install water reducing fixtures and so on. The bottom line is there are many ways you can become more energy efficient and thus control and reduce costs in your building.
Most people automatically think of the money savings that come directly off your utility bills, but did you realize that energy savings is only a very small percentage of the savings your reap from making your building more efficient? According to Mark and based on hundreds of case studies done over several years, the greatest savings and value is in increased productivity and improved health conditions in building occupants. Whether you are in charge of a commercial building, a hospital, or a school, this fact is hugely important. When occupants are happy, healthy and comfortable in their work environment, productivity increases and as a result so do financial benefits. Here is a staggering statistic that Mark gave us today: each minute of lost productivity in a data center costs $5600. Yes, $5600 per minute lost when a worker cannot perform his or her job. Of course not all situations are equivalent to a data center, but you get the idea.
So when debating whether or not you want to invest in making your building more energy efficient, be sure you consider ALL of the benefits and not just the utility savings.